- Posted May 12, 2015 by
Los Angeles, California
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"Pot: The Movie" Takes On All Sides of the Cannabis Controversy
“My goal is to simply educate the public on the facts about marijuana. Misinformation is the injustice that is not only keeping people from a potentially life saving substance, but also allowing the continued prosecution of many innocent citizens,” says Hope.
While many states have been legalizing marijuana for both medicinal and recreational use, Hope has seen first hand just how far we still have to go in terms of legislation and public perception. In fact, the South Dakota filmmaker was concerned about perception in his community, and one of his own family members when he first set out to take on this controversial subject.
“There are some great people in South Dakota, but like many rural areas the culture of South Dakota can be pretty resistant to social progress and a lot of people are very set in their beliefs. When someone from my family found out that I was making ‘a drug movie’, they actually threatened to call the police and have my house searched. Although I knew I didn’t have to worry about them finding anything, I became really stressed out wondering if the whole community would have that attitude and the ramifications it would have on my kids. But the more I learned about the bigger injustices going on, I decided it was worth the fight in making this film.”
One of the injustices his film features is the plight of Angela Brown, a Minnesota mother who was facing jail time for treating her 15-year-old son with cannabis oil after he suffered a traumatic brain injury in a baseball game and three years of traditional medical treatment had failed to work. Hope was so enraged that an innocent woman was being prosecuted for simply trying to help her son, he featured Brown’s plight as one of the focuses of his documentary and the publicity seemed to really help her fight for justice.
“The DA had really stacked up the charges and she was facing serious jail time for child endangerment and distribution,” Hope explains. “Then the film started getting a lot of attention right before it premiered at the Minneapolis / St. Paul International Film Festival and the local media really grabbed on to the story. CBS, Fox, local newspapers, and radio just days before the world premiere, and within a few days after it aired, the DA had been taken off the case and all of the charges against Angela Brown were dropped.”
“Pot: The Movie” went on to premiere to a sold-out house and has also been acclaimed for bolstering the argument for legalizing recreational use as well.
In addition to revealing recent research indicating that marijuana is far less harmful than legalized substances such as prescription pills and alcohol, Hope also makes his case for legalization by speaking to the very folks who enforce the law.
“As a citizen I’m very respectful of the law and as a documentarian I think it’s extremely important to have people on all sides of the argument weigh in,” Hope says. “Basically what I found after talking to a number of police officers was that most of them don’t really have a problem with law abiding people using marijuana and they would much rather utilize their time to focus on the real criminals endangering people’s lives. The problem is with the legislation determining their agenda and it’s amazing how much money and legal resources are being wasted on prosecuting the wrong people.”
Michael Hope set out to make an educational and entertaining film that would de-stigmatize its subject for good and judging from the response so far, “Pot: The Movie” is doing just that. But he says that making this movie was only the first step.
“2015 is the year to educate and 2016 is the year to legislate. I made the film, now people need to see it and act.”
To find out more about “Pot: The Movie” or to host or attend an upcoming screening, go directly to the website: http://www.potthemovie.com